tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN October 17, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
if we can do that, imagine what we can do for asthma. and if we can stop seizures in epilepsy patients with a small pacemaker for the brain, imagine what we can do for multiple sclerosis, even migraines. if we can use patients' genes to predict heart disease in their families, imagine what we can do for the conditions that affect us all. imagine what we can do for you. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. president trump is getting set to face reporters once again today. this after his impromptu press conference yesterday left more questions than answers. the questions today, why did his nominee for drug czar who trump calls a great guy what did he drop out and what does that mean for the ongoing opioid crisis
crippling parts of the country and what does the president's newfound friendship with the top republican mitch mcconnell mean for the brewing tax battle on capitol hill? and another question, new questions about the attack on u.s. troops in niger that left four service members dead. why did the president claim his predecessors didn't call families of fallen u.s. soldiers and a time to compare and contrast. let's get to it. first to the white house, congressman tom marino dropping out a week before the president is set to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency and also just two days after a scathing report that marino championed a bill that hampered dea efforts to fight that very crisis. joe johns with the white house has this for us. joe, what is the president saying about this? >> you know, kate, tom marino of pennsylvania, was one of the first people to get behind the president in the campaign and when the time came for the white house to pick director of drug policy control, marino was it.
now, he's out. the nomination has been withdrawn. the president talked about that this morning on the radio. listen. >> there was a couple of articles having to do with him and drug companies and i will tell you, he felt compelled, he feels very strong about the opioid problem and the drug problem, which is a worldwide problem, but it's a problem that we have, and tom marino said look i'll take a pass, i have no choice, i really will take a pass, i want to do it. >> so the story that did all this was a "washington post"/"60 minutes" report citing, among other things, the fact that tom marino in his role as a congressman from pennsylvania, had been the key supporter if you will of a bill that essentially undermined the ability of the dea to get rid of or at least control shipments of opioids. a big problem for him and a big problem for this administration. he's out now.
back to you. >> joe, absolutely, now we've got to look for another nominee. thank you so much. now to the next battle on capitol hill, your taxes and does this newfound romance between the president and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell guarantee a much needed legislative win in this big area. sunlen serfaty is following the latest on the hill. they stood side by side in the rose garden yesterday. everything now cumbayah, rainbows and unicorns with regard to their tax reform dream? >> not yet. they still have a long way to go, but i tell you what this week they will face a critical first big test to see what direction all this is going to go. senate republicans, they need to pass a budget. that's important for the larger issue of tax reform because if the budget passes, that pavings the way for -- paves the way to pass tax reform with only republican support. there are still a few republicans undecided on the budget. many say they have concerns like senator john mccain who echoed that moments ago, senator rand
paul, they say they're worried about the budget and want more answers before they potentially vote on it as early as thursday of this week but republican leaders here in congress are confident they can cobble together the votes they need to pass a budget and that's something president trump echoed moments ago in this radio interview. >> now we are there and, you know, i think rand will be there and let's see what happens, but we have the votes coming up starting on thursday. budget is phase one and the vote is phase two and if the republicans don't do it, it's -- it would be disgraceful to them. >> and looking forward even beyond the budget this week that move for them to have to write the legislation, get all of the ts crossed and is dotted in congress, and we know there's a lot of interparty battling going on on what the specific of the policy on tax reform will look like. huge obstacles ahead. >> great to see you. thanks so much. now the deadly attack on u.s. service members in niger,
the president is facing backlash this morning after when he was asked about this attack, his comments about how and when he makes contact with families of the fallen in comparison to his predecessors, not to be lost here, there are many more questions circling about what exactly happened in that operation that left four service members dead. let's get to cnn's barbara starr at the pentagon with much more. what are you learning? good morning, so many questions for the families of the fallen. the u.s. military has opened a full review, two weeks later, still looking at this, trying to figure out exactly what did happen. this review will look at the timeline hour by hour, how it unfolded, what everybody did, what everybody knew. what was the intelligence that these military members led by green berets, the 12-man team, had going into a village in niger where they were only supposed to meet with locals, and then depart. there was no indication of combat. why didn't they have the
intelligence that they were walking into an ambush of 50 isis fighters. when the ambush broke out, there was confusion on the ground. they had to wait 30 minutes for overhead support from french aircraft. and one of the major issues is what happened to sergeant la david johnson. 25 years old. he was one of the soldiers killed there. we have his picture. i know we put it up a minute ago. let's show it again, his body was not recovered for 48 hours. it was out there in the brush, if you will. they do not know how he became separated. they don't know how they didn't find him right away and bring him back with everyone else kate? >> key questions, thank you so much. really appreciate it. joining me to discuss this and much more mike brown of south dakota. thank you for coming in. >> you bet. >> a lot happening this morning, let's try to get to some of it at least. the president's drug czar nominee this morning, congressman tom marino,
withdrawn his name from consideration as we've been reporting. this came after just after this huge report by cbs and "washington post" over the weekend. what's your reaction to this? >> well, first of all the president had made a nomination, nomination has been withdrawn, i think the fact that he's actually directly in touch with legislative leaders who have discussed it with him, is a step in the right direction. the president has made some very good nominations in the past. the senate's role on this is to advise and consent. sometimes not to consent, simply to advise. that's what's happened in this case. >> what should happen to this law that's at the center of all of this? do you think it should be repealed? >> go back in and see what the other items were that were within the law and whether or not there was an attempt made to begin with to modify it or was it simply one of the things that looked good to everybody, and it was passed by unanimous consent, meaning people assumed that everybody else had looked at it. >> that's what happened here. everyone i've heard talking says
it went through committee, dea pulled back any objections they had, doj didn't have any objections, it passed by u.c., we moved on. >> no such thing as a perfect law and when you find them, when you have identified a problem some place go back and fix them. don't hide from them. walk back in and look at it and say where did we make a mistake, what else is in it that should be corrected and move forward. >> you're on board with changing this law repealing it as some democrats are pushing a bill right now? >> i think what you do is take a look at it and you will allow it to go through committee process, you get the testimony on it, then you make a decision based upon what you learned. but you don't simply walk on in and say, gee, we have a news report here that something is wrong on it we will totally stop in the middle. do it through a regular process. and that's the way it should be with the vast majority of the laws we've got here. there is no such thing up here as a law which is perfect and if we made a mistake, we go back in and we fix it. same thing we should be doing in
health care, same thing in tax reform. >> yeah. this one seems more flawed than your average bill, though, if we -- if as we are now learning, you're on board for reviewing it. you, of course, served on a senate armed services committee, you heard barbara starr's reporting on the latest on the niger ambush that left four american service members dead. the pentagon is investigating doing a full review, should congress be investigating? >> i think congress will have a report. any time you have the loss of life, any time you're involved in an incident in which we lose young men, lose young women, congress has an interest in seeing what happened, why, where, were they in the right place, something we should have done differently, was there something that has to be addressed within the system itself. but you know, we still have to go back down to one thing which is very important that is to express to those families who have now lost a loved one and our thoughts, our prayers, our support, take care of those
individuals first, get the data, come back in, make changes. there is any time you have a war, any time you are in a war zone, any time you have young men and women at risk you have the possibility of loss of life. you don't want to see it. you want to avoid it. if we can learn from this, then we should be doing that. >> senator, of course four americans were also killed in the benghazi attack in 2012 and that we well know led to massive year's long investigations by congress. seven congressional investigations, in fact. is this not worthy of one as well? >> it's not to say it's not worthy. it's simply a matter of, in the last one, in the benghazi incident your had a case of where there was clear testimony, information coming out, saying there were hours and hours of activity going on. we don't have the facts on this yet. if similar facts were to be determined in this particular case, you may very well see the same type of a demand for a review. but in any case, any time,
regardless of when these types of losses occur, you want to get to the bottom of it and you want to do a reasonable plan to make sure it doesn't happen again and find out what happened in this particular case, but you do it in a reasonable fashion in which you try to learn from the incident. find out what happened. once again, you never take any loss of life as anything other than the most serious of nature and once again, you offer complete condolences. i share with you, look, i was governor of south dakota for eight years. we lost -- i went to 31 funerals for young men and women who lost lives overseas. you don't forget them. every leader feels that. and when you go in, you can't take away the pain that families feel. you can offer your support, your prayers, you bring a community together, and you try to begin a healing process. sometimes that takes a long, long time. but, i think that's one thing
that element, that human element, is something none of us should ever forget. >> absolutely not. and with that in mind, what did you think when president trump said yesterday that past presidents, including president obama, didn't make contact as you're just discussing with families of fallen soldiers, what did you make of his remark? >> i listened to his remarks and i can tell you that that's not quite what he said, not what i heard. what i heard him say, he may or may not have made them and then he may or may not have mader. al contact, may have done them by letters and so forth. i can tell you that i believe that every single president, feels these, just as every governor feels the loss in their home state. regardless of whether you're a republican or democrat, if you're the president of the united states, you feel that loss. and i think president trump felt that loss and sometimes leaders have a challenge that they're not exactly sure -- they're human. they're not exactly sure what they should do. they want to play a part. they want to be in that role.
but they also want to -- they also know that sometimes they got to learn how to do it as well. none of us come built in knowing how to respond in times of need. we have to learn from it and get better with time. i fault neither republican nor democrat leaders. i don't wish that upon any leader. once again this is a case of where our entire country feels the hurt but they want that leader to step forward and to express on their behalf and sometimes as leaders we're not sure that we do the greatest job in the world. that makes it more difficult to step in and do it. but we want to do that job for the american people and for those families. and that's a challenge sometimes. >> yeah. really quickly, on health care, an impossible turp after the important conversation we've had but also an important issue you're very much involved with on the hill. the president yesterday, he said on the health subsidies he
canceled, he said he called it a gift to the insurance companies. he's called it a payoff. he says, it's a disgrace. do you see those subsidies as a payoff? >> i think -- it was not the intent to begin with. but i think the president first of all he made the right choice to deliver it back to congress and say, if you want these to continue, then do them legally. because we didn't have the legal authorization, the courts have indicated that to the president, it's in our court, that's where it should be. >> but i feel like that's not exactly what he said. he said i canceled them because they're disgrace. he calls them a gift to the insurance company. why is he then asking you guys to fund that gift and payoff to the bad guy here which he thinks is the insurance company? >> we've proposed and what we've been working on for several months is legislation that would prohibit what the president referred to double dipping. one in which they may well receive the payments but the benefit doesn't go back to the people who it's supposed to
help. within the language that we're talking about right now, we are proposing that these resources go back to individuals that need them. individuals under 250% of poverty, but in exchange for that, that we actually make the first major changes in the affordable care act allowing under section 1332 additional opportunities for the state to actually reduce premiums for their people. and there's a number of different tools that are out there. they've just been made very difficult in the past. we're trying to ease up on them and allow more flexibility for those states. i think we're getting there. and we've got legislation that is being fine tuned right now by patty murray and lamar alexander. >> that's the important part i want to -- >> yeah. >> that's where i want to leave this. you are a republican member of a bipartisan group working hard to find a solution here and that should not be lost in the conversation. thank you so much for coming in. i appreciate it. >> you bet. thank you.
>> we are following breaking news we need to get to. breaking news on wall street. dow jones industrial average has hit a record high, passing the 23,000 mark for the first time just a short time ago. cnn's business correspondent maggie lake with much more on this. maggie, another all-time high? >> that's right. another one for the history books. you know what's amazing there was barely a peep down here. we are getting used to this. the market up 4,600 points since the election. 25%. we've gone right through 20, 21, 22,000. just another day at work. good earnings from goldman sachs and morgan stanley. a strong bull run. underpinned by the good corporate profits. improving global economy. very good news if you're in the stock market. not every american is. but if you are it's helping your retirement. >> all right. important to mark this another historic day. maggie, thank you so much. coming up for us, the pushback growing against the president over the federal
response to the hurricane ravaged puerto rico. i'm going to talk to a senator who returned from the island and says more people are going to die if more is not done and done fast. plus this, it could be one of the biggest blows to isis yet. u.s. backed forces in syria liberated the de facto isis capital of raqqah. we will take you live to the syrian border. i'll have the langoustine lobster ravioli. for you, sir? the original call was for langoustine ravioli. a langoustine is a tiny kind of lobster. a slight shellfish allergy rules that out, plus my wife ordered the langoustine. i will have chicken tenders and tater tots. if you're a ref, you way over-explain things. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance you switch to geico. sir, we don't have tater tots. it's what you do. i will have nachos! how much money do you think you'll need in retirement? then we found out how many years that money would last them. how long do you think we'll keep -- oooooohhh! you stopped! you're gonna leave me back here at year 9?
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our fellow maerps are dying and they desperately need our help. and ladies and gentlemen of the senate, i have seen it with my own eyes. on the ground. and i'm here to urge this congress and the administration that we have to act and act for a very long period of time. >> that was democratic senator bill nelson of florida on the floor last night making a plea
for the people of puerto rico. here's what we know, the ket toll stands at 48, more than 100 people are unaccounted for. 83% of the island remains without power. that's just some of the updates. let's bring in senator nelson joining me from capitol hill. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, kate. >> so the president yesterday again said that he is getting an a-plus for the response to the hurricanes including puerto rico. you were just there over the weekend. do you agree? >> not entirely. first of all when you figure it took a week to get the united states military in, and they are doing the job, they are uniquely capable of logistics, but secondly, one of the little towns that i visited and you can't see this from the air, you've got to get in on the ground so the helicopter flew me into the mountains into this little almost like a village, they didn't even have access by roads until two weeks, two and a
half weeks after the hurricane. the bridges were knocked out and so they're using a pulley system across a river to get food and fuel. water. to the people. they're resilient, they put forth a good face, and in this case, they're not dying, but what about the electricity a long time coming to the hospitals and the dialysis centers. it's going to be a long time and we're going to have to spend a lot of money and a lot of resources to help our fellow citizens get back on their feet in the island. >> senator, let me play you one more thing that the president -- i want to play you something that president said yesterday about puerto rico. listen to this. >> we've delivered tremendous amounts of water and then what you have to do is you have to have distribution of the water by the people on the island.
we have massive amounts of water. we have massive amounts of food. but they have to distribute the food and they have to distribute the food to the people of the island. >> is that a fair assessment from what you saw when you were there, that the locals are the hold up in distributing the aid? >> well, take, for example, the little town up in the mountains, they have pipes that have water coming down from the mountain, with which they're getting their drinking water, other than the bottled water that has finally come in in the last week and the puerto rican national guard by the way was there trying to improve this little dirt winding road along the stream through the mountains. so that water is not portable water. that's water washing off the mountains and yet those pipes that were coming out of the
mountain is what was available there. fortunately i don't think all of the people in the village were drinking that water but that's what some have had to rely on. >> you saw firsthand, of course, the federal response after hurricane irma in your state. it's a different state, it's a different storm. do you see a difference in federal response? >> to puerto rico? as compared to florida? oh, well without a doubt. the first thing is, obviously, the geography. utility trucks came from other stateses into florida and that's why you got a lot of florida back on-line with electricity. an island is an island. a system is ancient and decrepit. it is what it is. so are we getting all of the
essence of the people that we need to fix the lines? they've turned this over to the u.s. army corps of engineers. they contract out. have they contracted with who is going to get in there? why are we four weeks after the hurricane, and not any major part of getting the distribution of electricity across the island? can you -- >> senator -- >> can you imagine, kate, in a state like florida, if you didn't have any electricity in four weeks and you didn't have any prospect of electricity for months? can you imagine the uproar that would occur. this is what's happening to fellow american citizens in puerto rico and i understand also in the virgin islands. >> i do need to ask you about niger. one of the four soldiers, service members killed in the niger ambush was from your state, sergeant la david johnson, whose body was missing
two days before it was discovered. the pentagon is investigating. you're a member of the armed services committee. mike brown i spoke to, said you need to get more facts before congress launches an investigation. do you agree? >> well, of course, we have to get the facts. i spoke to mrs. johnson the widow, today. i have written her. by the wayrs that's a sobering experiment -- experience when you are a military officer and you're designated as the one to tell the next of kin which i did during my active service a long time ago, and, of course, we need to get the facts to find out what happened. >> do you think congress should launch an investigation? >> of course. that's part of our oversight responsibility on the armed services committee. >> you said as you mentioned you spoke with the widow this morning. with that in mind, what did you think when you heard president
trump say what he said yesterday and comparing kind of the reactions, the responses from past presidents to his, saying that past presidents including obama didn't really make contact with families of fallen soldiers. what did you think of his remarks? >> that's why i told you, it's a sobering experience. as a military officer, to have to notify next of kin, and the last thing in the world you would ever want to do is try to turn it political. and i can guarantee you, when i spoke to mrs. johnson earlier, i was just thinking about her and her family's feelings and especially that she is in the late stages of pregnancy, and she's not going to have her husband. >> how is she holding up? >> she was resolute. she was grieving.
but she was resolute. >> the strength of those families is just awe-inspiring in what they do and how they serve as well. if i could ask you, you said you never want it to turn political. did the president turn it political? >> it seemed to be. >> senator bill nelson, thank you for coming on, senator. >> thank you. >> coming up, we're going to be fogg breaking news on the u.s. led victory over isis in syria. u.s. backed forces say they have liberated the de facto isis capital of raqqah. we will take you live to the syrian border.
claiming victory saying raqqah has been liberated and major military operations there are over. joining me from iraq's border with syria senior international correspondent arwa damian, lay this out for us. hi, kate. the forces on the ground the syrian democratic forces, are not quite yet claiming that raqqah has been liberated, although yes, they have declared major combat operations over saying they're focusing on going after small pockets of resistance, smaller groups of isis fighters, also trying to make sure that there aren't any sleeper cells either single individuals or small groups, hiding out in the rubble of that utterly devastated city. they are saying that they expect to be able to fully announce raqqah's liberation in the next they're hoping two to three days. the u.s. coalition spokesperson also said that based on their rough estimates, they think that about 100 isis fighters may be
left inside the city, but most certainly, it is in its final days and this is a very significant moment. remember, raqqah was the first major city to fall to isis. the capital of its self-declared caliphate and now isis can no longer at least make that claim. significant losses territorially but that does not necessarily mean the end, the defeat of the organization itself, kate. >> question of what it all means going forward, a huge question for all of the leaders on the ground and here in the united states. great to see you, arwa. thank you so much. we'll bring you updated statements when they come. this we're following today, most americans believe the president of the united states is leading the country right now in the wrong direction. not all bad news for the president. especially when you look at his own party right now. details on that ahead. years of citi history matter to you? well, because it tells us something powerful about progress: that whether times are good or bad,
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president trump's approval rating holding steady but more americans say he is leading the country in the wrong direction right now. political director david chalian has all of the numbers and insight behind the numbers. what stands out to you right now? >> start with the overall approval rating, brand new cnn poll conducted by ssrs shows donald trump with a 37% approval rating, 57% disapprove as you said, that's been pretty steady, he's been between 37 and 40% for the last four months or so, kate. how does this stack up historically with his predecessors? he's down at the bottom for october of the first year of the presidency, you see donald trump all the way down at the bottom his next closest predecessor was bill clinton in october of his first year, at 47%. but he was ten points higher than where donald trump is now. and, of course, with that rose garden appearance with mitch mcconnell yesterday the trump/gop relationship in congress is key and we asked people who do you trust more, to handle the major issues of the
day, president trump or the republicans in congress? when you ask americans overall, only 30% say president trump. 47% of americans in this poll trust paul ryan, mitch mcconnell, those guys there on the screen. but kate, when you ask republicans, this is everything, to understand what president trump and steve bannon are doing, 63% of republicans trust president trump to handle the major issues, only 29% of republicans trust their own leaders in congress to do so. >> so informative as to where the conversation is, the targets are and tweets go for sure. great to see you, david. thank you so much. >> great to see you too. >> joining me to discuss this and more, politics reporter and editor at large chris cillizza, nia mallika henderson, former communications director for ted cruz's presidential campaign, alice stewart and chairman of the pro-trump pac, too many ps, great america alliance, eric. i'm just going to simplify your
intro from here on out. >> good. >> first to you, is david chalian was perfectly laying out, in the poll, the overall view of president trump's relationship with congress is, 32% approval. 54% disapprove. same question among republicans. 68% approve. yeah, 68% approve. what gives when all he says is he can't get anything done. republicans seem to see this differently. >> yeah. i mean, they seem to think that it's going well. i mean 68%, that's not a terrible approval rating. when you stack up the 68% against other approval ratings when it comes to trump among republicans, it's much higher. in the 80s in most things, 80% approval rating among republicans in terms of his handling of immigration in terms of whether or not republicans think the country is going in the right direction also in the 80s. so it is a little low. i mean, it's hard to know what
people are sort of -- the quarter that disapprove is it sort of disapproval nothing has been done, sort of disapproval if he's going after particular people, whether it's mitch mcconnell or corker, disapproval that, you know, that things just aren't going in the right direction in terms of all of the things they promise. it's hard to know. you would think, again, eight or nine months into his presidency this would be much higher in some ways the approval rating and disapproval rating does speak sts to the fact that some republicans are frustrated with the relationship. it would be higher and probably would be if they had gotten anything done so far. that is some ways why trump is out there yesterday with mitch mcconnell to repair some of the that and we'll see if that sticks. >> yeah. of course we'll see if that sticks. whatever sticks in washington right now with this presidency. alice let me ask you, as david was pointing out, one of the fascinating things, who do you trust to handle the issues
overall, folks trust congress more, republicans in congress more, among republicans they trust trump more. what message does that send to congress on who should be leading the charge on key stuff and getting stuff done? >> i think the shared responsibility, all the way around. president and congress with regard to what's not getting done. the surprising thing with that typically people trust the person you voted for. your local congressman and local senator. >> exactly. >> i hate congress, but but love my congressman. >> i met him at the fish fry or fourth of july parade and more confidence they understand what you need. those numbers are surprising. but i do think that as we saw yesterday, we had the president coming out there embracing mitch mcconnell who they've had the war of words but realizing he needs mitch mcconnell to get something done in congress. but at the same time showing his support for steve bannon who has declared virtually a war on the gop because he needs bannon and folks like eric's group to get
the base riled up and the money in the coffers and the base riled up to go against the establishment which is what trump wants to do. >> get to that in one second. but chris, let me ask you this, you look at this like who do you trust to handle the issues more amongst republicans trump over republicans in congress more. i think someone who would disagree with that would be john mccain. he delivered a brutal speech against the let's call it the trump philosophy, not naming him by name, here's a little bit of it. >> to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership, and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth, for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism, cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attack to any other tired dogma of the past to
the americans assigned to history. >> what does that -- what is what mccain says, what does it mean to the larger conversation? >> i mean, i think look at those two questions, approval of congress and then who do you trust more? look at it among republicans and what does it tell you? it tells you about two-thirds of republicans are trump republicans, and with one third of republicans roughly again, broad strokes, are not trump republicans. john mccain is in the not trump republicans. call it the republican establishment, though, even that i'm not sure catches it all, but there is about a third of republicans who are very weary of trumpism, rise of steve bannon and what that all represents, that populism, the skepticism about sort of globalism, the skepticism about trade agreements, so there's a huge divide within the republican party, but, and this is important for donald trump, it's not a 50/50 divide.
donald trump has about 65% of republicans in the donald trump republican camp. mccain, bob corker, ben sass, jeff flake, they have about 33%. and, you know, in a one-on-one primary between jeff flake and kelli ward, for example, in arizona, a third is not enough for jeff flake to win that primary and donald trump still retains the sort of dominant hand as it relates to the politics within the republican party even though the party is more divided against him than we would traditionally see particularly at this point of a presidency. >> so on this kind of bannon versus mcconnell war as bannon calls it, eric, president trump embraced them both yesterday. he said when he was standing by mitch mcconnell that he was going to ask steve bannon to back off on some of his relationship primary targets. if the president asks, will you back off as well? >> well, i think the key word there was some of the primary
targets. chris mentioned somebody like jeff flake, right. jeff flake, you know, wrote a book against donald trump, full disclosure i work with dr. kelli ward who will be the next senator from arizona and there's a reason for that. there is a battle within the republican party, but it's really also a battle across the country and why donald trump won the election. it is globalism versus america first policies. it is, you know, on key issues that we haven't discussed and really because, you know, congress is trying to set an agenda and really undercut the trump coalition agenda which does include illegal immigration, which does include, you know, getting better trade policies and does include u.s. job creation. the problem is -- >> i can't let you go without -- we have to stick to the list. jeff flake not backing off on. >> not at all. >> who else? >> i think if we have candidates that understand they want to go to d.c. and really focus on those core issues, again, not on the establishment agenda, but trump coalition like judge roy moore is in alabama, i think
it's ironic that the senate leadership fund, you know, said that they were going to give money to judge moore and put in resources behind judge moore and that's a case study for why don't they follow the grassroots. if the job of washington, d.c., and mitch mcconnell, is to make sure that we get to the 60 vote threshold and pass real reforms then let's follow the grassroot candidate for once as opposed to the establishment candidate inside of washington, d.c. that's where the disconnect is. they don't understand why donald trump won and they don't understand the donald trump voter. they are going to understand that this year. >> i don't understand how it's so mitch mcconnell remains the boogie man even when donald trump embraces him and calls him one of his best friends, the relationship is outstanding, there's no problems there. >> well kate -- >> welcome to washington. >> i think that's a function, very quickly, a function of the fact that donald trump understand that he needs mitch mcconnell to get tax reform done, right. i don't think anyone in the trump coalition as eric is
talking about, i don't think anyone in the trump coalition think donald trump is best friends with mitch mcconnell and supports everything he wants. they view it as the fact that they need him now and why donald trump is doing it. this is not a broad sweeping endorsement of the establishment. >> all right. friends out of necessity. i feel like that's all of us right now. friends out of necessity on any given day. >> eric fight with me in the break. i have to go. everyone thank you so much. >> thanks, kate. >> all right. coming up for us, president trump moments ago, again addressing how past presidents have communicated, made contact with families of fallen soldiers after he did falsely claim his predecessors did not reach out to families. is the president changing his tune and trying to clean up after that? that's next. beyond is a natural pet food
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let's set it up. yesterday trump said this. if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. a lot of them didn't make calls. >> then this morning, president trump walked those comments back somewhat. listen. >> as far as other representers, i don't know. you can ask general kelly, did he get a call from obama and other people. i don't know what obama's policy was. i'm speaking for myself. i'm not speaking for other people. i don't know what bush and obama did. you can find out easily. ask the military people. i believe his policy was different than my policy. i can tell you i called every one of them. >> how this started was a simple question at a press conference asking about the response to
four american soldiers and why he has not spoken out publicly about it yet. let's discuss. scott jennings is joining me now and former special assistant to george w. bush. great to see you. president trump was not right in one regard. he seems to be trying to back track. i'm not clear as to what is actually going on. what do you think president trump is saying? >> i don't know. i don't think there is anything to be gained by trying to litigate what your predecessors did in this regard. my belief is the obama white house contacted soldiers's families and my knowledge of president bush's white house is they did as well. i have no reason to believe they did not. if those outreach methods were calls, letters and meetings, there was a combination of all three. the issue is why are we litigating this today and it doesn't help advance the president's agenda.
i think it was an unfortunate detour in the press conference to litigate this when you focus should have been on other things. >> right. every president said this is the hardest thing a president must do. console families and speak to them or write a letter. how did president bush handle these moments? >> well, president bush met with families of the fallen. i know my office of political affairs and the white house was frequently on the frontlines of calling these families and inviting them to meet with the president. he always did it in private. we never publicized it and politicized it and make hay out of it. the president spent hundreds or thousands of hours with families of the fallen. everybody got a letter. i'm not sure how many phone calls were made, but extreme measures were taken to contact as many families as possible so they could hear from the commander in chief. there have been a lot of officials who can speak to that, but i know this outreach was
done. >> here's the one thing you are just getting at. i'm confused as to why this is an issue to compare and contrast against one's predecessor. >> it shouldn't be an issue. we shouldn't politicize this and regarding the four soldiers who died, this is a matter of national security. he is going to contact the families in the way that best suits this particular situation and we will have more to say about it in the future. it's not a hard answer and there is no political benefit to bringing up the predecessors. the reality is all of these situations are drvet. the four green berets were in a situation that he can't talk about much publicly and they don't allow the commander in chief to give public details. my political and pr advice is there is no reason to do this with your predecessors. there is no reason to do this
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welcome to inside politics. i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. president trump is embracing conservative talk radio. if you didn't know it, you would not be entire surely here is a republican. >> the budget is phase one and the vote is phase two. if the republicans don't do it, it would be disgraceful to them. >> to them, the president says. another perm set